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Mona Atia


Nostalgia, Hope, and Fear on the Path to 30 June

[Protestor in Tahrir Square,

[This is the first in a series of dispatches that Mona Atia will be sending from Egypt to present some views from the ground about the lead up to 30 June protests and their aftermath. As part of her annual research trips, she has spent the last month researching poverty politics, and on the way collected narratives of the revolution from Cairo, Sinai and Assiut.] The sentiment on the streets of Cairo has changed immensely over the course of the past year. Last year people ...

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Mona Atia


Mona Atia is Assistant Professor of Geography and International Affairs at the George Washington University. She received her PhD in Geography at the University of Washington, Seattle, a MSc in Cities, Space and Society from the London School of Economics and a BS in Business Administration from the University of California at Berkeley. In 2006 she was a fellow at the Gerhart Center for Philanthropy and Civic Engagement at the American University in Cairo.

Professor Atia's research lies at the intersection of civil society, geopolitics and financial networks in the contemporary Middle East. Using ethnographic methods, she explores how a transnational Islamic revival, growing Islamic banking and finance industry, and intensified security measures have shifted Islamic charitable practices away from direct handouts and towards faith-based development projects. Her research has been supported by the Nancy Bell Evans Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy, the Institute of International Education Fulbright Fellowship and the University of Washington Graduate School Dissertation Fellowship. In 2008, her dissertation "Building a House in Heaven: Islamic Charity in Neoliberal Egypt" was awarded the University of Washington Distinguished Dissertation Award.

Her publications include "In Whose Interest? Financial Surveillance and the Circuits of Exception in the War on Terror" published in 2007 in Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 25 no. 3, and a forthcoming chapter on "The Arab Republic of Egypt" inFrom Charity to Change: Trends in Arab Philanthropy, eds. Barbara Ibrahim and Dina Sherif, American University in Cairo Press. Her work has appeared in several other academic journals including, Environment and Planning A, Geografiska Annaler B, Housing Policy Debate, and Antipode.